Road Trip Planning

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Road Trip Planning?


Taking a family road trip?

That is one of our favorite things to do and we have lots of helpful hints based on our experiences.

First of all, it helps to be prepared.

You’ll want to make sure that everything is ready. Following these tips will help you prepare for the road trip of your dreams.

Preparing the Car for a Road Trip

Road trips require being on the road, which requires a good vehicle.

Take your car in for service and a multi-point inspection. Let the service advisor know that you are planning a road trip soon. They’ll want to check the tires and brakes, but also the car fluids, hoses and engine. The place where we take our car for repairs does a “27 point inspection” that checks all these things.

You’ll also want to make sure that your car can travel safely by having working taillights and brake lights and functioning seat belts. If you are using a child safety car seat or a booster seat, make sure it is installed properly.

One thing that we always travel with are a set of battery jumper cables as well as an air pump. We actually had to buy the air pump for a flat tire we had one a trip. Now, it always stays in the car and we’ve had to use it more than once.

Staying Awake On a Road Trip

One concern that people have when taking a road trip is falling asleep at the wheel.

By taking a few precautions though, doing some road trip planning, and using some old-fashioned common sense, you’ll be able to stay safe.

Most importantly, get a good night’s sleep the night before you leave town. I personally have a problem with this…seems I’m often up late taking care of some last minute details – either with packing or with leaving instructions for pet sitters, those picking up the mail, or whatever. When that has happened, sometimes we’ve delayed getting an “early start” the next morning in order to be well rested.

So now you are on the road. Stop! Pull over! Get out and stretch periodically. Some folks like to try to “drive straight thru” to their destination on a road trip, but there is danger in this, particularly if there is only one driver.

Besides, the fun part of a road trip is getting to stop and see the sights along the way. If you aren’t going to do this, you might as well fly on an airplane to your vacation destination.

If there is another driver in the car, be sure to switch off periodically. This keeps everyone fresh.

It is also a good idea to avoid driving at times when you might otherwise be asleep.

If you are sleepy, stop and take a break. The danger is nodding off to sleep while you are driving. How many road trip movies involve a driver falling asleep at the wheel.

Pretty funny stuff.

But in real life it isn’t funny.

Even if you are awake and don’t nod off, being drowsy can slow your reaction time, making it difficult to respond in an emergency if you to.

If you have trouble focusing, heavy eyelids, or are yawning, these are all signs that you need to take a break. And most importantly if you are swerving from your lane pull over right away and get refreshed! Have cup of coffee, get your blood flowing thru your body and be safe for your family, and for the other families on the road.

Road Trip Planning: Bring along road maps!

That is right! The old-fashioned, hard-to-fold, paper road map.

You may have a GPS, smart phone, or laptop with you. But, let’s face it, every once in a while depending on technology can fail you.

If you have a GPS, be sure to update it so you’ll have the most current maps available.

There are lots of great phone apps available to help you find lodging, attractions, and even routing information.

But in my opinion, road trip planning isn't complete without a paper road map in the car as a backup.

Road Trip Games

The most often heard phrase on a road trip…

"Are we there yet?"

If your road trip planning includes activities for the trip, you might not hear that phrase. After all, getting there is half the fun!

Our favorite activities on road trips are to:

  • Sing Songs – our favorites are 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall, and Old MacDonald (we end up naming about every animal on the planet).

  • Alphabet Game – We search billboards for words that start with letters of the alphabet, going in alphabetical order. It can take a long time to find some words, such as those that start with Q and Z.

  • Observation Game – We have a great game that includes little cards that list things to look for. Things like “a blue car with four doors”, an “American Flag”, a “car stopped at a stop sign”, etc. We divide up the cards and have fun looking for the various things.

    More Road Trip Games

    In a nutshell, follow the scout rule when road trip prepared!

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